did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Ruber

1

That's a pretty good example of hoisting somebody with their own petard. But, I still prefer Uber and Lyft to the local taxi service.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:03 AM
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2

Ahumsub, let's unite UMC liberals and union lefties behind a law sharply limiting how much any company - whether taxis, Uber, or Lyft - can remove from its drivers' take. Force them to justify their cut.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:05 AM
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3

Honestly, I just want them to show the fuck up. Perfectly happy with monopoly rents or unions or selective car-keyings. Whatever works.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:08 AM
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4

Does the principle "Anyone invoking 'Econ101' to justify something is almost certainly full of shit" have name? It probably should.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:12 AM
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5

4: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing" popularly shortened into ALKIADT


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:18 AM
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6

Alexander Pope used ALLIADT/DDOTNTPS.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:20 AM
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7

VTSOOBC: Frowner and I were discussing this subject, and bemoaning the fact that some of our otherwise reliable lefty friends make use of Uber and Lyft, with no real sense of why that's problematic from a radical perspective. I blame the iPhone.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:27 AM
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8

6: That's the Catholic version.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:28 AM
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9

Some more context


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:36 AM
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10

This may be of interest. I'm only a couple chapters in, having bought the book after feeling like I should be able to articulate some rationale for the generally queasy feelings I have about Uber. It's by the Nobody Makes You Shop at WalMart guy, fwiw.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/02/whats-yours-is-mine-against-the-sharing-economy-tom-slee-review


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:40 AM
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11

Econ101 is already mostly bullshit*, so it's not surprising that people using it to justify things are using it to justify bullshit. Dsquared's 'good ideas do not need lots of lies" principle could cover it.

*Not because of some general Econ-is-bullshit reason - it's just because pretty much any discipline's 101 level stuff is mostly pedagogically useful but highly questionable overgeneralizations and straight up false claims. They get the framework down for people and later classes go back and clarify all the individual bits of content, usually in "...but actually.." terms because you can't start out with the full bore finicky complexity even if it makes a big difference.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:41 AM
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12

You can tell when you get to advanced statistics classes because they teach you more wrong ways to do something before they teach you the right way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 8:48 AM
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13

Obviously IANAL but that seems like a weird case: aren't, for example, actors' and models' agents in a similar position? They don't employ the actors but they act as intermediaries for a percentage.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 9:13 AM
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14

12: Do they say "You should never do it this way, because it may make your results appear significant when they aren't," and then discreetly wink?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 9:13 AM
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15

13: Those agencies don't set the wage (though I suppose they do set a minimum).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 9:16 AM
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16

14: Really, they don't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 9:17 AM
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17

15: but it would be illegal for them to do so? as in, if I ran an agency providing extras for crowd scenes, I couldn't sign people up for a flat daily rate?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 9:18 AM
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18

11.*: That's a useful way to think of it. No one ever says "It's Physics 101" to justify their Good Idea, only to say that others' ideas are infeasible. Rarely is "It's Econ 101" used in that negative sense.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 9:21 AM
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19

Yes, 11.* is excellent, and 18 is a great followup.

Actually, in the fight over my neighborhood park, the developer's hack architect described their ham-handed and self-serving move of extending an existing street through the park as "Urban Planning 101"; in my testimony at Planning Commission, I acknowledged this, and then suggested that we could perhaps look at Urban Planning 201, or even 305.

Which is more evidence that anyone citing 101-level stuff as an affirmative reason is trying to pick your pocket.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 9:25 AM
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20

It's funny how physicists manage to teach Physics 101, with all of the "ignore friction and assume a spherical cow" approximations that entails, without leaving students under the impression that the real world is full of frictionless spherical cows.

And yet somehow economists can't seem to manage a similar trick with Econ 101.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 9:30 AM
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21

17: I don't know. They don't seem to work that way in real life, but I've never been employed that way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 9:32 AM
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22

15: but it would be illegal for them to do so? as in, if I ran an agency providing extras for crowd scenes, I couldn't sign people up for a flat daily rate?

I think the high level argument is that if they dominated the labour market for extras, yes it would be illegal. But the detailed argument is that Uber in practice does lots of things that price-fixing cartels do*, not just having a set price for many drivers.

* I mean, some of it has innocuous interpretations too, but they are necessary indicia of price-fixing.

Ruling here.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 9:39 AM
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23

Also Austin is about to vote on fingerprinting Uber and Lyft drivers, and Uber and Lyft have been total horrible bullies in it.

Uber & Lyft are giving free rides to the polls.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 12:04 PM
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24

23: I think you mean civic-minded uber and lift drivers are giving free rides to the polls. Über is merely allowing use of its platform to facilitate those rides. It's not as if uber is paying drivers to take people to the polls.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 12:13 PM
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25

Oh, wait, you're talking about something different. I thought you meant elections.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 12:14 PM
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26

Edinburgh dealt with Uber by insisting all Uber drivers have full cab licenses. I spoke to a couple of the Uber guys in Edinburgh and they were happy with the situation. When business was busy they booked through the other cab firms they contracted with at a higher rate, and when it was quiet, they signed into Uber and filled the space. They both agreed they charged less for Uber jobs, but kept a slightly higher percentage, and that they both had higher incomes as a result, as they had much less downtime.

In that instance, they really were independent contractors selling their services to more than one firm/booking agent.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 12:24 PM
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27

26 not a general defence of Uber, but more an anecdote that depending how local government chooses to deal with licensing, the system can be more or less exploitative.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 12:25 PM
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28

25: Huh? I do mean elections.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 12:28 PM
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29

26: I don't know about the results, but NYC did the same thing, licensing-wise. Now, they're competing with the limited supply of medallions for yellow cabs who are allowed to pick up passengers on the street, but they're licensed like any black-car service you'd phone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 12:32 PM
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30

Our local paper pointed out that if Lyft & Uber make good on their threat to leave, that would make room for a drivers' co-op of some kind.

When I first moved to Austin (and there were a quarter million fewer people here), there was really only one taxi service. It was employee owned and excellent.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 12:34 PM
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31

You can enforce laws on the books? Inconceivable! Disruption, innovation!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 12:34 PM
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32

30: When was that? Because in grad school, I only had experiences waiting around for hours and/or giving up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 1:16 PM
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33

Meh. I was better at giving up in grad school that you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 1:17 PM
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34

I was so good at giving up that I never even went to grad school.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 1:22 PM
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35

That doesn't seem right. If it were, I'd be better at giving up on law school than I am on giving up at graduate school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 1:24 PM
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36

All the good aspects of Uber seem to be unrelated to the bad aspects. They would do fine if they admitted that they have many thousands of employees who drive cars, instead of just the few dozen employees in California who program the app and negotiate with airports and threaten to sue city governments. They would be equally innovative and appealing. The service would be just as good. It's really a shame.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 1:28 PM
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37

20 is also excellent.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 1:31 PM
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38

It's funny how physicists manage to teach Physics 101, with all of the "ignore friction and assume a spherical cow" approximations that entails, without leaving students under the impression that the real world is full of frictionless spherical cows.

And yet somehow economists can't seem to manage a similar trick with Econ 101.

Economists get to think "If everyone was rational like us economists, the world really would work this way. Let's make it happen!" But physics isn't taught by spherical cows.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 1:32 PM
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39

But physics isn't taught by spherical cows.

And if you suggest that it is, it's off to the Dean's office for sensitivity training.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 1:39 PM
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40

22: Extras often get SAG- negotiated rates.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 3:57 PM
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41

29: the Medallion thing is so ridiculous. I think that that was in Econ 101 and probably makes sense.

There was a scandal here about how the Boston cab companies were exploiting their drivers. Feh.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 4:04 PM
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42

I think it's more that people getting the wrong idea from Physics 101 doesn't matter that much. Physics is not a matter of public policy.

Econ 101 has a weird role in the education of economists. You take an intro course where you learn a bunch of general principles, and then you specialize, where you learn nothing in the intro courses applies to your area. But the intro courses are all economists know outside of their area, so they imagine it works there.

Here's a specific example that always bugs me. There's a 101-ish theory that long-term interest rates are the average of expected short-term rates. There is no evidence for this theory, and lots of evidence against it. And yet I've seen both John Quiggin and Paul Krugman use it in arguments. They know how macroeconomists is wrong, because they're familiar with it, but once you get away from that it's easy to fall back on 101-isms.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 4:29 PM
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43

When Ruber hits road.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 4:32 PM
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44

Goodbye Ruber Tuesday.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 4:54 PM
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45

Ruber baron.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 4:57 PM
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46

Crossing the Rubercon


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 5:54 PM
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47

The service would be just as good.

Just as bad, more like. The drivers still wouldn't be trained, licensed or insured properly, half of 'em would still be sex preverts, and many of the vehicles would still be grody to the max.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 5:56 PM
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48

Half platonic perverts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 6:09 PM
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49

||


I'm looking for something online and stumbled across S.1559, introduced in the present Congress by Sen. Kelly Ayo/tte (R., NH).

At quick glance, it seems like a reasonably well-intentioned piece of legislation, but its name is The Pet and Women Safety Act of 2015.

What the heck? No offense to dog and cat lovers, but pets first?

||>


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 6:14 PM
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50

PAWS Act


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 6:41 PM
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51

"Spinal Tap, then puppet show."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 6:42 PM
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52

50: Trump is right. Burn it down. Burn it all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-16 7:20 PM
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53

I just took my first Uber. There in five minutes, no serial killing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-30-16 1:30 AM
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54

I lied to him because I thought it might be bad form to say "I'm just using you to get to the bus stop."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-30-16 1:34 AM
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42.3: The argument in favor of that (long-term rates being a composition of expected short-term rates) is an arbitrage argument, which depends (in the ideal case) on the existence of players who can both borrow and lend sufficiently large amounts at the stated rates. In the real world, of course, there is a spread between borrowing and lending costs, so the argument would allow prices to deviate from the ideal within the spread faced by the largest players in the market. Other issues might be if certain maturities are unavailable, or if the risk tolerance of the big players keeps them from trading at the scale needed to move the interest rates.

But the fundamental argument seems sound with those caveats applied. The point is that you can synthesize future short-term contracts by going short and long a combination of present long-term contracts, and if the implied interest rate on that future short-term contract is wildly out of line with the expected short-term interest for that future period, you would expect the big players to be trading those long-term contracts in the same direction until the long-term rates adjust to line up more closely with those future expectations.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 04-30-16 2:52 AM
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56

Of course, like all arbitrage arguments, it has a certain "That can't possibly be a $100 bill there lying on the sidewalk - if it were real someone would have taken it already" quality to it.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 04-30-16 2:58 AM
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57

"That can't possibly be an unlocked car with the keys in it or somebody would have stolen it already."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-30-16 3:11 AM
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58

It's not literally an arbitrage argument -- there's still risk in that you don't know what future interest rates will be. The arbitrage version (that you can back out the price of zero-coupon bonds from coupon bonds) does work.

And while the argument may be sound, it's empirically false. Long rates are not good predictors of future short rates. (Alternatively, you could think that it's true that long rates reflect people's expectations of short rates. Then people are terrible at actually forecasting short rates. They imagine that low or high interest rates are much more persistent than they really are.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-30-16 3:55 AM
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59

That fits with how so many people assume the 3.x percent 30 year home mortgage is the certain precursor to massive inflation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-30-16 6:11 AM
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58.last: I can readily believe that people, even rich people with lots of money, are pretty bad at predicting future movements of short-term rates. So the consensus forecast might be pretty far off. That's different from saying that the long-term rates don't reflect the consensus forecast.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 12:29 AM
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